DRAFFENVILLE – It’s a three-peat for Marshall County’s girls’ soccer team.
With a 1-0 win over McCracken County Friday night in the First Region championship match at Colburn Field, the Lady Marshals secured their third-consecutive region title – the school’s 20th, in all.
Marshall will play Greenwood on Monday or Tuesday in Bowling Green in a semi-state match.
“This is what we’ve been working toward all season,” said Lady Marshals forward Carmen Gunn, who with Calloway County’s Zoe Stom was named First Region co-Player of the Year. “But, we’re not done yet. We want to keep on going. We want to continue further than we ever have.”
McCracken nearly opened the scoring on a kick from Olivia Bogaczyk in the fifth minute, but she was ruled offside.
The Lady Marshals (18-2-4) scored the only goal of the match on a McCracken County own goal in the 22nd minute, a rebound from a corner kick that went off a Lady Mustangs defender.
Both defenses stood tall Friday night, with the goalkeepers carrying the load.
On one side, Marshall County senior Carlen Whirley, whose eight saves secured her 17th shutout of the season.
On the other, McCracken County freshman Karsyn Allard, whose six saves featured some that were certainly highlight reel-worthy.
“I thought we played a great game tonight,” Whirley said. “We started out a little bumpy, but I was confident in my team and their abilities. We went out there and we did our jobs. Even though it was 1-0, we held that and we got the shutout, we got the win and we got the three-peat.”
For her part, Allard’s confidence on the pitch seemed to belie her youth.
“I feel like they went well,” said Allard, asked to describe her night in goal. “There’s always (room for) improvement. I always feel like I can do a little better in some cases, but I feel like that was a game where I’m not going to have any regrets. I know what to look for next time, but I feel like, for me, it was a lot of the defense having my back and sort of me covering for them.”
All told, the season for the Lady Mustangs (10-10-2) – the first girls’ team in school history to make the First Region championship match, and the first from the First District since 2003 to do so – was a success, first-year skipper Chris Lacey said.
“I’m almost speechless with pride,” he said. “We made history the other night. We already had a great season. But then, to come here, they (Marshall) got us 5-0 on October 1. I was just like, ‘OK. We can do this.’
“We had a couple of mistakes on the field, but we built on that and kept going.”
All-First Region teams
Co-Player of the Year: Carmen Gunn (Marshall County) and Zoe Stom (Calloway County)
Calloway County: Elle Carson, Zoe Stom; Graves County: Elle Carter, Raychel Mathis; Marshall County: Sofia Bayer, Carmen Gunn, Loralei Samson, Carlen Whirley; McCracken County: Olivia Bogaczyk, Molly Thomas; Murray: Angela Gierhart; Paducah Tilghman: Kiersa Atnip.
Calloway County: Sunny Clark, Anna Hill; Graves County: Nicole Bradley, Hannah Beth Elliott, Sydney Gream; Marshall County: Tori Ford, Kallen Fuller, Whitley Watwood; McCracken County: Hillary Hollowell; Murray: Hollis Bourque, Lily Vanover, Payton Wray; St. Mary: Jaclyn Meredith.
Calloway County: Jadyn Lencki, Bailey Provine; Graves County: Hadley Looper, Anna Whitaker; Mayfield: Grace Debrose; McCracken County: Hailey Arnold, Haidyn Green; Murray: Apirada Chetawatee; Paducah Tilghman: Leah Tyrell, Abigail Wurth, Molly Watkins; St. Mary: Ainsley Eck.
Marshall County 1, McCracken County 0
MAR: McCracken own goal (22’)
MAR: 10; MC: 8
MAR: 8; MC: 6
MAR: 18-2-4; MC: 10-10-2.